Board of Oil and Gas Conservation adopts drilling notification New rule increases transparency in Montana oil industry

The Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation on Wednesday voted 4-3 to adopt a rule requiring oil and gas operators to notify landowners within 1/4 mile of a proposed oil or gas well.

By Larry Winslow, Northern Plains Resource Council

   The Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation on Wednesday voted 4-3 to adopt a rule requiring oil and gas operators to notify landowners within 1/4 mile of a proposed oil or gas well.

   With the adoption of this rule, notification of neighboring landowners will have to occur before wells are permitted so neighbors have the opportunity to comment on projects while they are still in the planning phase.

   “It has been a long process starting with the 2015 Legislature, but we have once again proven that grassroots efforts can bring results. By attending Board meetings, engaging with Board members, providing factual input, and sharing individual stories of development impacts, we were able to increase transparency for neighbors of oil and gas drilling,” said Sue Beug, a Northern Plains member from Red Lodge who has been advocating for this rule for more than a year. “Transparency is a Montana value, and today’s vote finally means that neighbors in the oil and gas fields will have some information when drilling is coming near their homes.”

   Since the beginning of 2015, members of Northern Plains Resource Council, a Billings-based conservation and family agriculture organization, have joined with other landowners across the state in attending Board of Oil and Gas Conservation meetings urging Board members to take action to protect surface owners.

   Prior to the Dec. 14 decision, landowners adjacent to an oil and gas lease received no notice of proposed wells or the opportunity to come before the Board with concerns. Wyoming and North Dakota both require notification of adjacent landowners.

      



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